KITCHENER -- Andy Self saw the outline of a familiar shape lurking behind a curtain in the bowels of the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.
"It's (Adam) Perry trying to hear what I'm saying about him," the Belleville Bulls forward said, shaking his head at Perry's antics. "He's the same old Perry. A little smarter than his brother (Corey), but he hasn't really changed at all since we were kids. It's fun to have him on this team."
Perry came out from behind the curtain wearing a sheepish grin. He's always easy to find on the ice -- standing at the top of the crease in front of the goalie.
There's usually nowhere for him to hide in Kitchener, where he's public enemy No. 1. Like all villains, he'll be wearing black tonight when his Bulls try to administer last rites to host and OHL champion Kitchener Rangers in the Memorial Cup semifinal.
The mood won't be any different than during Belleville's 4-3 overtime win against Kitchener on Wednesday.
Every time Perry is knocked down, there will be big cheers. If he touches the puck or appeals to the refs for a call in his favour, there will be jeers.
"It's motivating," the 21-year-old forward said. "To have all the fans against you, it makes you work even harder. We know it's a hostile environment from the OHL final. But it doesn't matter how many times we've played them (eight in the past three weeks) because there's just one more. We know what's at stake and only one of these teams will get to the final.
"We want that to be us."
Perry is the only player left in the tournament who already owns a Memorial Cup ring. He had a bit part with London in 2005 and mostly watched his older brother and friends steamroll their way to a junior hockey crown at the John Labatt Centre.
"He has seen what it takes to win -- he's been around it and he knows what it takes to get where we want to go," teammate and future Florida Panther Shawn Matthias said.
Perry has spent the past three years trying to get back to that spot in a larger role. As a Knight, he lost in the OHL final to Peterborough in 2006 and fell to Plymouth in the third round last year.
London traded him to the Bulls in January.
"Every OHL player wants to be in this situation and this is why we play," Perry said. "I'm excited about the opportunity. Hopefully, we don't fall behind 3-0 again. We've been able to come back from those, but it would make it a lot easier if we didn't (have to)."
When Perry came to Belleville, he played a regular shift and a bit on the power play. "I just showed up and started with them so there wasn't any time to practice," he said. "The other stuff was kind of given to me over time."
Now, he also kills penalties and takes many of the crucial faceoffs.